The Europeans are building a new supercomputer. An initiative known as PRACE was launched recently to increase the availability of computing power, in reply to to demand from science and industry.
“Whether we’re dealing with the climate, genetics or engineering– researchers are relying more and more on advanced computing power to stay at the forefront of international competition”, PRACE researchers say.
The organization was created last April and represents 14 European countries. (Germany, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Finland, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland).
The supercomputer will constitute what’s known as Tier 0 infrastructure, at the top of the European High Performing Computing (HPC) pyramidal ecosystem. This is no mean feat. Investments range from E400 to 600 million for the first five years of operation only. Funding is provided by five countries who are positioning themselves as principal partners of the 14 member consortium owning the super computer, as well by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme (which deals generally with EU large infrastructure programs).
The PRACE organization is headed up by Professor Achim Bachem, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Research Centre Jülich, Germany. The project will start on January 1st 2008 and will last for 2 years, with a total budget of € 20 million. During these two years, contracts to establish are prepared for the PRACE permanent Research Infrastructure as a single Legal Entity in 2010 including governance, funding, procurement, and usage strategies.